Intel vs AMD: The Complete Walkthrough

Much debate has surrounded the internet about which processor is the best choice for gaming. Intel or AMD… Like the Apple vs Android war, there are strong opinions on both sides of the coin as to which is best.

The problem is: there’s no right answer.

Some are biased and say that the intel core line is still better for fps, but on the other hand, AMD has been gaining the highest market share since very long ago. And for a good reason (we’re going to address that later).

AMD Gains PC CPU Market Share from Intel with Ryzen
AMD’s Marketshare increase every 3 months.

The truth is, the Intel vs AMD debate is still holding today.

The argument has heated up even more since AMD revealed recently their flagship CPU, the Ryzen 9 3950X with no less than 16 cores and 32 threads.

The new Ryzen line is set to be released in September of this year. It is still uncertain if this new line of processors is going to position AMD as the “King of processors” and kick out Intel from the throne it has been sitting on for the past decade. But it appears to be looking so.

Okay, we’ve set the stage.

The purpose of this article is to help you choose the right processor for your needs.

So we’re going to travel through every corner of the internet looking for expert opinions in order to save you the extensive research.

Performance

Two years ago, when AMD launched the Ryzen line, TechRadar held a deathmatch between the Intel Core i7-7700K and the AMD Ryzen 7 1700.

It turned out in a tight fight, both offered nearly the same performance and AMD was a bit cheaper (by around a $50 difference). Even so, they still crowned Intel as the winner…

But this was 2 years ago, and time has passed.

TechRadar ran a more updated comparison between the giants. This time, comparing the low-end, medium-end, and high-end products in both prices and performance.

The AMD lineup traditionally has lower prices than Intel.

Even with the lower price tag, Ryzen had better performance for multithreaded operations (video encoding would be the best example of this) as a result of their core and thread quantities. Intel provides better gaming performance because of their typically higher clock speeds and more so their, instructions per cycle.

The overclocking point was rather important. All new Ryzen processors allow users to go beyond their expected capacity (overclocking) without any restriction (unlocked). Meaning that AMD is very clear about letting people do whatever they want with their property (how things should be).

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Fun Fact

AMD was the first company to commercially offer a dual core desktop processor.
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On Intel’s side, their CPU’s are quite limited in that respect, since only the models with  “K” or “X” at the end can be overclocked. So it looks like Intel has the restrictive belief of an overprotecting mother that recently realized that her 25-year-old son is big enough to make his own lunch!

Caution: It’s important to note that some precaution is needed when trying to overclock your processor.
Overclocking does provide more power, but it also generates much more heat than normal and can potentially overheat your hardware if you’re not careful.

In that case, overclocking would cause more damage than the benefit you would receive.

Investing in a good fan cooler like this one is highly recommended, although Ryzen CPUs do have very decent stock coolers.

Also, none of the companies will accept your warranty claim if you damage your processor while overclocking, so it’s obvious that you need to know how to overclock properly.

Upgradability

WePC.com had a similar approach to TechRadar regarding points of comparison. While explaining the concepts he was talking about for the casual reader (very important).

A good point there was the compatibility.

AMD has stated that their current motherboard type (AM4) will be supported until 2020.

However, an article from extremetech suggests that AMD’s new 3rd generation CPU’s may not be supported fully.

This does cast some doubt as to if it’s worth buying an AMD motherboard now or wait until we know for sure for support of the new 3rd gen CPU.

If the support continues with the new series’ CPUs, the AMD lineup is easy to upgrade without having to change the motherboard.

This means that a 2nd (or maybe 3rd?) generation Ryzen model will be compatible with older generations and vice versa. This is critically important for people on a budget since you’re paying less when upgrading your CPU, in that you don’t have to upgrade your motherboard as well.

Unfortunately, an Intel processor is compatible only with a motherboard of the same generation. Meaning that upgrading is far more expensive than AMD’s equivalent.

So on this point, if you’re an upgrader and looking to get a new CPU every couple of years or so, AMD is the way to go.

Value

Another interesting part of the WePC post was the conclusion.

They argue that 4 cores with 8 threads are enough for gaming, and the rest of the money should be invested in GPU.

This suggests that the AMD side of the coin is a better solution if you want a budget-friendly, easier to upgrade and overclockable option; or if you’re requiring multithread for productivity work.

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Fun Fact

Before settling on Intel the original company name was called ‘N M Electronics’

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On the Intel side of the coin. Intel CPU’s does offer faster clock speeds for the same budget and can be overclocked a bit more (assuming you get an unlocked Intel CPU), providing more single-thread power.

Wepc declares both as great options and stands for the “no right answer” opinion.

We agree, as we suggested in the beginning of the article.

Future Performance

Digital Trends went ahead of our time and tried to compare Intel Core i9-9900K with the most powerful Ryzen processor of the not-released-yet 3rd generation, the Ryzen 9 3900X.

Of course, every point addressed there was on paper only, since we don’t know yet how the Zen 2 is going to perform.

What’s interesting though, was the analysis from the comparison charts that AMD showed in the E3.

Ryzen 3900X vs 9900k

They claimed that “Overall, the 3900X looks comparable, and in some cases, even more capable, than the 9900K in gaming.”

The other relevant chart was for game streaming, and although it is only important for these groups of user (like the post says), a huge difference can be seen between both processors when streaming at 1080p.

This suggests that the additional cores made the real difference at running top gaming quality while streaming at the same time.

amd ryzen 9 3900x vs intel core i9 9900k 3900x02

Of course, this is according to what AMD said. The post claimed that “we’ll have to wait until closer to launch to test these ourselves, but these early results look very promising for the AMD chip”. Supporting the “no right answer” opinion too.

It is interesting to consider the fact that AMD revealed a more powerful processor with 16 cores. So after reading this post, you can make your guess…

What the Youtube Experts say

Jayztwocents

This video was made 1 year ago when Zen 2 (the 3rd gen of Ryzen) wasn’t announced yet. Jay tells the story of AMD from the last decade to this time, explaining how AMD has been putting pressure on Intel by bringing back the benefits of competition.

He claims that the current state of both brands is so competitive that if you perform a blind test you’d be unable to tell whether you’re using Intel or AMD.

The thing is, the competition forced Intel to keep leveraging their IPC 4.0 technology and AMD to focus on their multicore processing. He explained…

And while this is true, you can keep asking yourself “What the heck should I choose then?”

According to Jay, both processors are surprisingly powerful. But if you’re requiring optimized single core processing for work like video or photo editing with Adobe software and such, Intel can be a good investment.

However, for gaming and everyday usage, he strongly recommends the Ryzen processors for the performance you obtain per dollar.

And that’s a powerful point.

Since AMD started launching competitive processors, they have done an exceptional job of keeping CPU prices low.

And that’s ultimately true according to this chart:

As you can see, in the entire image AMD dominate’s this chart.

The Intel Core i7 isn’t seen in the list, only one i3, and two i5s. The rest are from AMD hands.

At the end of the video, Jay addressed that game developers are now looking to expand a way to leverage the potential of multicore processors (after so many years…) in order to improve efficiency and game experience.

This will have a bigger impact for Ryzen lineup that is well known for having more cores.

A recent Quora question asks how many cores do games use – the top answer declares that newer games need at least 4 threads and to avoid stuttering, 8 threads is the minimum.

Also, motherboard manufacturers are now releasing models with such high quality for both processors, that you no longer have to worry about it.

For a long time, motherboard manufacturers were well known for cheapening the prices of AMD compatible models because of Intel having a lot more advantage over AMD for a long time. Before Ryzen came around it was hard to get a decent motherboard that had compatibility with AMD. At least that isn’t the case now.

Jay was clearly leaning towards the AMD side of the debate, and he really put convincing arguments on the table.

Now to present time, when AMD’s Zen 2 was announced, he updated his thoughts (his full video is here).

It’s pretty technical, but he summarizes that:

  • it seems that Intel is actually putting more focus on integrated graphics cards (not needing a graphics card) where AMD was so dominant
  • AMD is putting a strong focus on their processors (where Intel has been dominant)
  • He wishes that AMD puts more pressure on Nvidia on the discrete graphics card side.

I’ve cut to his summary part of the video here:

Linus Tech Tips

Linus explains how much struggle Intel is having with AMD and many other factors regarding the optimization of transistor’s size.

It turns out that Intel has been relying on the 14 nanometer technology on their processors for so much time (since 2015). While Zen 2 is confirmed to use HALF of that.

Having a smaller number means that the CPU chips are going to be more power efficient, faster and having more space for more CPU goodness!

Intel is actually having problems with the 10nm transition on the few devices they’ve been using it with.

Since Intel is manufacturing their own transistors, figuring out how to improve your efficiency on your own is costing them a huge market share loss.

But AMD seems to be on a better path, as they outsource their processes with other companies like TSMC. This approach has really paid off and is a great advantage over Intel this time around.

Also, it seems like Qualcomm (best known for the Snapdragon processor for mobile phones) is going to start creating energy-saver chips for laptops, which is another threat against Intel from another company.

Linus argues, however, that Intel is still the market leader and has plenty of capital to invest for the upcoming years and counter back all the competitors.

It looks like Intel is going to invest in GPU technology quite aggressively to compete against Nvidia. And they’re already researching for new approaches to get into the 7nm technology.

But… when?

We’re already convinced that AMD is nailing the 7nm already, and Intel is still on the 14nm…

From this standpoint, it’s looking positive towards AMD chipset

What Does Reddit Say of AMD vs Intel?

In this post, you can find a video from PC World’s executive editor Gordon Ung explaining why he prefers AMD over Intel.

Despite the fact that Intel would give you higher gaming performance, superior instructions per cycle (IPC), and more clock speed.

Gordon also claims that there’s no right answer for everyone, just like us, it’s dependent on what’s good for you or the person using the computer!.

His next point is all centered around budget, and I think that is the important part to remember – this discussion is all about if you stay within a certain price point and don’t waiver.

From a strict gaming standpoint – all else being equal, he proposes that you will sacrifice around 20% of the FPS switching from an equivalent Intel CPU to an AMD CPU.

He argues that what you save from buying a Ryzen CPU can be used for a much more powerful GPU (like most people are saying, actually) and that will yield a far better overall frame rate.

See the whole video below:

The overall comments of the thread below the video are largely in agreement to Gordon’s point.

Most of the Reddit comments, and I think many people, in general, are aware of Intel outperforming Ryzen right now.

But with the upcoming 3rd generation of Ryzen (Zen 2), there’s uncertainty and many people who can wait are wanting to see what happens with the new release from AMD.

No one knows if Zen 2 is going to smash Intel brutally, match it, or fall below expectations. As an example of this, the original post of this thread can’t decide between Intel i7 9700K or the Ryzen 7 2700X and asks for help.

People suggested buying Intel if you wanted higher performance and don’t care about money. Otherwise, buy Ryzen.

But wait… that’s at the TOP end, right?

So what about the lowest budgets?

Linus tech tips has a video about it, he did the challenge and it turned out pretty even at $750 limit budget.

We’ve jumped to the results part of the video below:

So the truth is: everything depends on your needs.

From one side, Intel has better IPC and clock speed, performing much better on single-thread operations, which includes most games.

Intel is worth consideration in that game developers are usually optimizing for Intel since it dominated the market for a very long period of time (and still does).

From the other side, AMD Ryzen provides more cores, superior multi-thread performance compared to Intel, and higher performance per dollar.

It’s also possible to see more multicore-focused games soon, as well as more optimizations for AMD processors from different software developers. So it looks like a bright future is waiting for AMD.

But what should you choose for gaming then? It is hard to give a straight answer for everyone…

AMD is a clear winner for value and should be the choice for someone on a budget and looking for balance.

Intel is the winner for the high-end budget of PC gaming, it’s faster overall right now.

That’s why I’m going to describe 4 different personas here and determine the best option for them. So if you identify with any of these personas, you’ll probably find your answer. Here we go:

Persona #1: Hardcore Gamer – F*$K the Budget

  • Profession: E-Sports gaming, full-dedication.
  • Hobby: Play the last AAA games in ultra settings in 4k and 240 fps (the highest quality possible).
  • Budget: Whatever is needed for gaming.
  • Recommendation: Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8... is enough for you, you’ll last several years without thinking about CPUs. An i9-9900K is the ultimate option, but unnecessary for gaming, not even for hardcore.

Persona #2: Professional Streamer

  • Profession: AAA Games Online Streaming and reviewing.
  • Hobby: General gaming and video editing.
  • Budget: High enough for the business (just want to stream good enough).
  • Recommendation: Ryzen 7 2700X is the ultimate choice made for multitasking. It will cost you ~$279.99 on Amazon right now. Compared to the ~$485 worth i9-9900K option that may work as well.

Persona #3: Game Lover

  • Profession: Any – Maybe something related to tech or software.
  • Hobby: Invest several hours on gaming.
  • Budget: Medium to high, but he’s an adult now.
  • Recommendation: The Intel Core i5-9400F is surprisingly affordable and provides excellent performance, it will do its job while saving you enough money to buy an amazing GPU.

Persona #4: Casual Gamer

  • Profession: This literally doesn’t matter.
  • Hobby: Play games and has a girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • Budget: Looking for the best performance/dollar rate option. But still not willing to invest much for the highest settings
  • Recommendation: The AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is the ultimate amount of power you get for what you pay, period. Run most games on high settings for the small amount of ~$80. You won’t regret it. You could squeeze a little more performance by getting a AMD Ryzen 5 2400G running ~$150

So…Did you make your choice?

If you haven’t, is understandable. Finding the sweet spot for your budget is a hard process.

That’s why we’ve posted the ULTIMATE PC builds for you to enjoy the better performance according to your budget.

For every budget (Ranging from $350 up to $2000. ) we explain to you EVERYTHING, including:

  • Why you should build your PC instead of buying a pre-built
  • What you need to build your PC.
  • How to build your PC.
  • A deep enough (but not too far) explanation for every component and why it was chosen.
  • Sometimes you’ll see more than one build, giving you different optimal options for the same budget.
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We have on our site all the writeups to build THE PERFECT PC FOR YOUR BUDGET HERE.
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We’ve saved you valuable time researching and evaluating multiple combos and builds, thinking about what you should buy in order to squeeze the most FPS from your spending.

Conclusion

For the mainstream gamers, both companies have very extreme CPU offerings. We just have to look at Intel i9-9900K and the upcoming AMD Ryzen 9 3950X with 16-cores.

You really need a lot less than that. You should have no problem with 6 cores/12 threads at most, and for a long time. And it should be noted that 4 cores are still awesome.

What is really happening, is that people want more, but it doesn’t mean you need to excessively spend your money on extra fancy gameplay in order to play like a pro.

Remember that your skills are the real business here.

I hope this walkthrough has been helpful to you. Don’t forget to leave a comment and give your opinion about this epic Intel vs AMD debate.

Integrated Graphics Vs Graphics Cards (Decoded) – The Lazy Man’s Guide

What is a graphics card?

Before we go into integrated graphics vs graphics cards I need to take you through the principles of what each really mean.

So what is a graphics card?

A graphics card is a separate add on unit for a computer designed to handle complex visual processing. A graphics card then sends the information to your monitor(s) or display.  All graphics cards have outputs to connect your displays and have a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) as part of their construction. The graphics card connects to a motherboard (typically via PCIe) and has its own dedicated memory (VRAM).

What is the difference between dedicated and integrated graphics cards?

An Integrated graphics card has a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) as part of (integrated) into the Central Processing Unit (CPU). It sends the video information through the motherboard output to your display.

A dedicated graphics card has the GPU mounted on a dedicated circuit board with separate display connections in addition to your motherboard. A dedicated graphics card is also able to handle more intense graphical needs and demands than an integrated graphics card.

Integrated graphics cards (IGPU’s) are part of most non-gaming computers. IGPU’s are very cost effective and are able to handle most everyday user tasks like browsing the web, Youtube, email etc.

Dedicated graphics cards are used typically for gaming and video editing – both of these require many more resources from users who expect better performance.

In the past the GPU was integrated into the motherboard, but now is part of the CPU.

AMD has their own version of integrated graphics cards (or processors), but they call it an APU. APU stands for Accelerated Processing Unit.

I will use IGPU or integrated graphics throughout this article. APU, IGPU and integrated graphics are all synonymous terms.

We have an article reviewing the the best AMD IGPU’s (APU) on the market here.

Is a graphics card needed?

A graphics card is absolutely needed if your CPU doesn’t have an integrated GPU (IGPU) as part of its architecture. Integrated graphics are meant to handle watching Youtube and other common user demands like web browsing, emails etc. A dedicated graphics card is needed if you want to play the latest and greatest games at a high detail setting without stuttering in the gameplay.

What exactly is a GPU and why do we need one?

Why the heck are GPUs so expensive!  Basically the GPU is the heart of the build, and without it most things that gamers enjoy become impossible.

A GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is the actual chip that is mounted to the graphics card. The GPU is what processes and renders the images you see, such as your favourite cat video or the icons on your desktop. It also handles calculations related to manipulating 3D objects – used mainly in gaming and video production or video editing.

The GPU is to a graphics card as the engine is to a car. We can have different models of the same car (colors, features, parts etc) but will have the same engine overall.

Therefore, different dedicated graphics cards can be based on the same GPU.

The two largest desktop GPU makers, AMD and NVIDIA, release a reference (stock) version of their new graphics cards (like the Radeon RX 590 or GeForce RTX 2080) and offer them out to vendors to customize. All of the different vendor versions of the RTX2080 for example actually have the same GPU chip at their core.

Vendors (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI etc) will take the reference design, and customize it with their own versions that may (and they usually do) enhance the cards performance.

These vendors will commonly change the cooling options (# of fans, size, heatsinks), Input/Output ports (I/O ports) and modify the card for higher performance (clock speed).

Nividia and AMD also release their own version of graphics cards to compete with the vendors mentioned above.

Nvidia calls their own design Founders Edition. AMD calls their version Frontier edition.

Should You Buy A GPU or An IGPU/APU? 

We should first look at what differences there are between a CPU (and it’s integrated GPU) and an independent GPU (part of a dedicated/discrete graphics card).

If you were to look at a CPU chip and a GPU chip, you could think they are the same.

comparison between cpu and gpu

First the similarities.

  • They’re fabricated with silicon
  • They’re mounted on a printed circuit board (PCB)
  • They have a heat sink attached to them to keep them cool.
  • They both perform math and solve problems

So it seems like they’re largely the same then?

Not quite!

Now the differences, and why they are used for separate uses.

I find an analogy is best to first grasp the differences.

Let’s say I’m running a website called PCGamingbuilds. I’m the only person running it. That means I’m the writer, accountant, security specialist, and artist (amongst many other things).

I’m doing it all.

I’m able to handle everything that comes my way and pretty good at everything too (humbly of course).  Out of nowhere, I get a big request to prepare a very detailed painting/picture on how to build a computer.

I could probably do it…It would take a long time, and it would probably not be as good of quality as if I hired a professional artist (specialized in their craft) to create my vision.

Much is the same between a CPU and a Graphics card.

I being the CPU in this example am very good at handling complex requirements and also able to do many different things at the same time. But sometimes, I just can’t handle everything and I slow down.

A GPU is an artist, or an entire art department designed solely to help produce images.

CPU

A CPU is very good at handling your virus scans, launching programs, web browsing etc. It is the maestro at the symphony, handling and coordinating everything.

A CPU is good at handling all of those commands and tasks amongst many other random requests – so you’re able to multitask without yelling at the computer in anger.

GPU

The GPU (as part of a dedicated graphics card) is the art department as mentioned. The graphics card is only there for one purpose – to create the picture you see on your display. GPU’s are able to handle a huge amount of repetitive similar calculations in a very fast time.

So a GPU is focused on pure speed on repetitive problems and a CPU is designed to handle everything you can throw at it in a balanced way.

Inside GPU’s are many identical blocks stacked on one another. These blocks are called either a streaming multiprocessor or compute unit.

In an overly simplified version, you could consider these blocks like little dedicated CPU’s.

So a GPU is able to handle mathematical equations (like geometry) with blinding speed.

Displaying images is like displaying geometry, dealing with shapes and trajectories and variables.

So to display a complex image (like in a video game) quickly with minimal time, the parallel blocks of a GPU are much better suited for this task.

Since the GPU architecture is so good at handling similar calculations the GPU has begun to be used for something called general-purpose computing on graphics cards (known as GPGPU if you’re interested).

A very popular use of GPGPU is used in cryptocurrency mining (bitcoin being the most popular).

Crypto mining is one big number crunching calculation fest, that GPU’s are good for.

So GPU’s are the future of computing right – get rid of the CPU?

Not so fast.

For a GPU to perform fast, the problems have to be parallel and pretty straight forward.

You can consider that the CPU is needed to take care of other more complex commands that you would want to be done quickly.

RAM usage with integrated graphics cards

The last thing you want to consider to see if a graphics card is needed is considering RAM usage.

Having an integrated GPU is kind of like sharing a living room with 14 roommates, the integrated GPU will use your dedicated RAM much like your roommates can use the living room.

If all of the 14 roommates decide to throw a party and use the living room, you’ll have to wait a long time before you can watch TV and chill!

If you’re going to be using your computer and integrated graphics to play games or do some video editing (the roommates); – your system runs the risk of really slowing down overall since it will be using most of the CPU’s resources.

If your computer is performing any other tasks like a virus scan or other background activities/programs are running – your system can really be slowed down and it will show in your gameplay or editing – likely to an unusable choppy level.

When do you absolutely need to buy a graphics card?

There are CPU’s that are manufactured without a GPU as part of their architecture. If you have a CPU without an integrated GPU component (IGPU) you will need to buy a dedicated graphics card to supply & process the image information to your display.

As PCGamer.com Reported  Intel has long included integrated GPU’s up until their 9th generation where they have now started to produce some CPU’s without IGPU’s built in.

So for the most part, if you have an Intel CPU, you already have a GPU and you can watch cute animal videos to your heart’s content.

However.

Any 9th generation Intel CPU with an “F” at the end of it doesn’t have integrated graphics – and you will need to buy a graphics card.

Many AMD CPU’s do not have integrated graphics either.

Here’s List of the latest CPU’s that don’t have an integrated GPU and where you will need a graphics card:

Intel CPU’s without integrated graphics:
  • Core i9 9900KF
  • Core i7 9700KF
  • Core i5 9600KF
  • Core i5 9400K
  • Core i3 8350KF
  • Core i3 8100F
AMD CPU’s without integrated graphics:
  • Ryzen 3 1200
  • Ryzen 3 1300X
  • Ryzen 5 1400
  • Ryzen 5 1500X
  • Ryzen 5 1600
  • Ryzen 5 1600X
  • Ryzen 7 1700
  • Ryzen 7 1700X
  • Ryzen 7 1800X
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1900X
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

You need a graphics card if you have any one of these CPU’s.

Are integrated graphics good for gaming?

I know a lot of you are gamers and I’ve been getting asked this a good bit so i’m going to answer this once and for all.

Is integrated graphics good for gaming? Usually No. Overall, the best IGPU’s (or APU’s) have shown to deliver 30 frames per second (FPS) at medium game settings at 1080p on many of the latest games. Having an Integrated graphics (IGPU) that is good for gaming depends mainly on how powerful your CPU is, the game complexity and other along with other running programs your computer has to handle. 

We will be using integrated graphics in its short form (IGPU)

As a comparison, 60 FPS is usually the mininum target for most gamers to deliver smooth gameplay on a computer screen (you can watch without sound to see the comparison).

Forbes.com and Wccftech.com performed tests looking at the Ryzen 5 2400G on Amazonthe best AMD integrated graphics CPU (or as AMD calls it APU) – and they found that the 2400G gets on average 30 FPS (frames per second) on medium game settings.

Running the Ryzen 5 2400G through userbenchmark.com shows the following results:

MEDIUM SETTINGS AT 1080P

GAME FPS # OF TESTS/SAMPLES
CSGO 94 30
FORTNITE 55.8 61
PUBG 39.1 15
GTA V 46.2 31
MINECRAFT 93.5 4

Tech Deals ran a comparison between the RX 580 8GB graphics card being used compared to using the Ryzen5 2400G integrated graphics card. You can see the differences here:

A comparably priced Intel CPU to the Ryzen 5 2400G is the Intel i3 8100

Again, using userbenchmark.com the users have seen the following results:

MEDIUM SETTINGS AT 1080P

GAME FPS # OF TESTS/SAMPLES
CSGO 78.8 6
FORTNITE 33.7 10
PUBG 67.5 4
GTA V 30 2
MINECRAFT 54.3 3

Lastly, How many monitors do you want to use?

Another factor that you may consider in buying a graphics card, is the fact that you want to have multiple monitors installed on your computer for work or entertainment purposes.

Most motherboards should be able to accommodate 2 monitors, but the way the monitors will be connected may differ.

A new motherboard will likely have a DisplayPort and an HDMI output, while older motherboards will likely have a VGA (analog) output and a DVI.

There are other motherboards that will have 3 display outputs on them as well.

If your motherboard doesn’t have enough display outputs that fit your need for monitors;

or if you’re not satisfied with using varied outputs to meet your goal (eg using a combination of HDMI, display port, VGA etc);

Then you will likely need to have a dedicated graphics card.

It’s pretty easy to use Windows 10 built in system to extend your displays:

Conclusion

So at this point I’ve gone through all the reasons as to why it makes sense to pick up either a integrated graphics card also known as an IGPU and why you might want to opt for a real GPU instead! .

If you’re just browsing the web and doing some light gaming then an APU does make some sense, but if you want to really game at a high level, then I recommend checking out our gaming PC builds. Even if you’re not a gamer, if you’re doing other demanding tasks like video editing, 3d modeling, or things of that nature you still might want to look into getting one of our builds as you’re going to appreciate having that extra power!

Did you learn everything you need to know about dedicated GPUs vs Integrated GPU’s?

If you have any questions and want to know anything more let us know by leaving a comment, and we’ll answer it ASAP.

When’s the Best Time to Buy New Parts for Your Rig?

Everyone wants to make sure that they always have the best computer technology in their hands. It’s hard to do so, of course, when technology is constantly updating and improving. But why build or buy an entirely new computer when you can adjust for a few upgrades here and there. If you were careful during buying or building your computer, you should have the capability to upgrade. But whether you’re hoping to get an increase in speed or storage, it is still important to know where to buy the parts and find the best prices. By following these tips, you’ll ensure you get the most out of your dollar and get that sweet upgrade you were hoping for.

Black Friday

Black Friday is hard to ignore for the fantastic deals you can get, on everything from socks to widescreen TVs. According to Tech Radar, this year it will take place on November 23rd, 2018. Take the weeks before it to research the deals that are being anticipated across the web, as many stores will give you a sneak peek of what they’re going to be offering that day. You can take advantage of the season to upgrade your system to a more powerful one if you’re smart about it. Try to be cautious though, as while a lot of things do go on sale, they aren’t always the best absolute deals. Be sure to compare the stores that sell the parts you’re looking for and look for the best price possible. And of course, keep a checklist and a budget for this time, and don’t let yourself get distracted or tempted by the many other deals you’re bound to see.

Amazon Prime Day and other Holidays

Aside from Black Friday, other holidays are also an awesome time to look for amazing deals in computer parts. Amazon prime day comes once a year, and even though this year’s event was two months ago, you can still look into other holidays when sellers offer different deals, as by the time Christmas time rolls by, many shops are offering generous sales for people buying gifts. New Years time also has some discounts come up here and there, even though you will have to search a little harder for deals in computers. Just note that the holidays are the time to get parts for 20 to 30 percent less than you would during the rest of the year.

Preparing for the Purchase

There are other factors which will determine how much of a save you will make from your sale. For instance, if you are set on buying one of those high-end Intel processors, and you have no interest in looking at other alternatives such as an AMD processor that could serve the same purpose, it will be more challenging for you to get the parts that you desire during the sales period. What most people do not realize is that Intel does not offer massive deals during the holiday, while AMD almost always does. Additionally, make sure to do some digging when you find the exact part you want (and know where you want to buy it). Despite the amount of amazing sales retailers and manufacturers have throughout the year, there are even more savings to be found. 

Choosing the Components That Get the Highest Cuts

Another important thing to think about is the components which you need, versus the components which usually get the biggest cuts. Here are some of the parts that get the best sales deals with the holidays, especially when you have coupons:

  • Monitors, keyboards, and mice
  • Headsets, SSDs, and HDDs
  • AMD CPUs
  • Power Supply Units
  • Memory

When strategizing, aim to get the very best deals that there are on these parts. You can have a look at the past sales history that the company has had to determine how generous they are when it is sale time. When you have narrowed down to the parts and the percentage that you are likely to get off, you can plan your budget accordingly. It is crucial to note that the fact that the components listed above usually have the most significant price cuts does not mean that you shouldn’t buy the others, they will also have their own coupons and discounts, and your purchase will depend on how important the part is to you.

Takeaways

Another way that you can get great deals is to keep checking offers which occur on a regular basis. Many retailers also hold flash sales from time to time, and when you are on the lookout, you are likely to get a deal which you will find hard to resist. Finally, when making your buy, ensure that you know when the company is expected to release an upgraded version of their hardware or software. For instance, it would make little sense to buy an Intel processor because there is a sale only to have them release a new and upgraded version of the processor a month later because then you would be stuck with a cheap, but an old piece of hardware. The most important here is to research and prepare because it ends up paying off.

What Teens Interested In IT Need To Know

Technology is becoming more popular among a majority of teens as it plays a significant role in their daily activities. They have school as their full-time job. However, when they aren’t in school, they spend most of their time on technology. A career in Information Technology (IT) would enhance their knowledge in this field. This article will show you IT programs and other ways to prepare for a career in IT.

IT Career

Typical IT careers are support specialists, computer programmers, and system analysts. Programmers translate software developer’s designs into a language that computers understand. A system analysts’ role is to ensure machines and networks are working correctly while support specialists solve problems encountered by computer users. You need to have analytical skills and be detail-oriented to succeed in this career. Acquire strong communication skills and be organized. Your ability to learn fast will enhance your career growth.

IT Job Market

As firms increase their use of computers, the demand for IT specialists will increase. This demand is expected to rise. The annual average salary of a support specialist is $48,900 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. System analysts and programmers are paid a higher income of approximately $79,680 and $74,280 respectively.

IT Education

You need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar discipline to take up a career in IT. There are instances where an associate degree will get you a job. Experience, which you can acquire through summer jobs, is always an advantage in getting any job. Some organizations may give you work based on the computer skills you possess. Since you already know that you’ll need a degree, take steps now to prepare for college. If you optimize your time in high school, you have a better chance of qualifying for scholarships and other financial aid.

IT Programs and Courses

ID Tech Camps offer teens an opportunity to learn various topics which include coding, virtual reality, and 3D printing. Previous students of this program have gone on to get jobs at Google and Facebook while others have started their companies. ID Tech has the best teachers in the industry. They have a student to teacher ratio of 8:1, so you get as much attention from the teacher as you want.

There are plenty of IT training courses online, some free and some requiring a subscription. See if you can talk to a parent or research student programs to see if they can cover some costs or have different resources in mind. EdX is another site that offers online courses, most of which are free of charge. You pay a fee if you require a certificate to verify your participation. MIT OpenCourseWare offers lessons in Introduction to Computer Science and Programming. Code Academy offers its courses for free. The classes on this site relate to web development. Acquire skills in IT from these sites. As you focus on classes, also try to focus on what you are good at. Taking pre-employment assessments or aptitude and personality tests, can tell you if the information technology world is good for you. 

Conclusion

A career in IT is fulfilling. IT specialists derive satisfaction from the continuous learning that takes place in this career. Follow the tips above to make the most out of a job in IT.

If you want to start with some of your own IT projects, check out our How To guides here.

Liquid Metal Thermal Paste Explained & The Dangers Explored

Liquid metal thermal paste is the best thermal interface material (TIM) to use for cooling.

Or is it?

It turns out that there may be some pretty big reasons not to use this stuff.

So I’ve gone down a pretty big exploration about liquid metal thermal grease. When to use it, and when to avoid it.

It started with a simple question. My time splintered from there…

Liquid Metal Thermal Paste Ingredients

Liquid Metal Ingredients

In short, Liquid metal (LM since I’m going to refer to it a lot) is composed of an alloy mixture called Galinstan.

Okay thanks, Graham…what’s Galinstan?

Galinstan is a mixture (alloy) of three main alloys – Gallium, Indium & Tin.

LM manufacturers will have a different “sauce” to produce what they feel is the best mixture to cool your GPU/CPU. If you ever compare LM between manufacturers, you’ll notice the different viscosities/texture of each.

The main mixture ratios for Galinstan are: 68 wt% Gallium, 22 wt% Indium and 10 wt% Tin (thanks Wikipedia).

This mixture has a wicked low melting point of −19 °C which explains why it’s so easy to spread (and fun to play with).

Coolaboratory Liquid Pro’s mixture, for example, are:  gallium, indium, rhodium, silver, zinc and stannous (nobody likes Tin anyways!).

Fun fact, since Gallium is non-toxic – we see it all the time in thermometers (having typed this though, I can’t recall the last time I have actually seen a traditional thermometer).

The biggest reason that we care about all of this is thermal conductivity.

The thermal conductivity, measured in w/mk (the larger, the better conductivity), of each alloy is:

  • Gallium – 29 W/(mK)
  • Indium – 82 W/(m K)
  • Tin – 67 W/(m K)

This explains why LM is so much better than other thermal pastes out there – Gallium is the “worst” of the bunch in the thermal conductivity competition.

Liquid Metal Thermal Paste Risks

Below I will be explaining the 3 main liquid metal thermal paste risks. The first two are the most dangerous, and the 3rd is a longer term issue.

Why Can’t Liquid Metal be used with Aluminum heatsinks?

Danger #1 – Aluminum.

If you’ve considered buying LM before, you will have (hopefully) seen a warning not to mix LM with aluminum heatsinks.

This is because Gallium oozes (diffuses) it’s way through Aluminum’s structure. Once the “oozing” completes, Aluminum will be brittle and easy to break (called Liquid metal embrittlement).

Not something you want to happen to your precious CPU cooler.

Liquid Metal Is Electrically Conductive

Danger #2 – electrically conductive = bad for computer

Liquid Metal Quantity

LM is, wait for it, made of metal. LM will short-circuit your board if it leaks to any of the circuitry.

Either be careful when you apply this stuff carefully (and sparingly) if you’re bold.

As you can see from the picture, use a really small amount and it will go a long ways.

You can also protect the circuitry around it by painting the contacts that may have leaks with clear nail polish.

Use either electrical tape or painters tape and seal all other parts other than the area you will be covering with LM.

Does Liquid Metal Thermal Paste React with Copper?

Possible Danger #3 – Copper and Gallium Still React

Liquid metal (read Gallium) will seep into the copper heatsink. How long this will take depends on the product, and usage mainly.

As I mentioned in the beginning – all LM thermal pastes will have Gallium as their main ingredient.

The good news, Copper will not be destroyed and become brittle like Aluminum.

Gallium will nudge its way into the copper and leave a silverish permanent mark on your heatsink (making copper-gallium alloy). This will cause the LM to appear dried out.

As you can see from the video below, there is a decently thick layer of alloy left on the copper heatsink.

Of course, you can apply additional LM after it dries out, but performance should decrease over time as more alloy is built up and separates the CPU farther from the heatsink (my theory). You want to have the least amount of thermal paste between the heatsinks as possible.

Galinstan is a good thermal conductor, but it’s nowhere close to that of copper.

If you are to apply the LM to a copper heatsink, please make sure to measure your temperatures on a scheduled basis.

Changing your LM every year may be a big enough hassle if you own a laptop – the choice is yours. Certainly, there is no doubt there is performance (and fan speed) improvements with LM.

Lastly, Just because a vendor says its block is made of copper doesn’t mean the metal is pure.

Some alloys look like copper, but react chemically with liquid metal products.

Nickel to the Rescue

I believe a very good place to put LM is between the CPU die and the integrated heat spreader (IHS) – a process called “Delidding”.

First of all, delidding will void any warranty you may have left on your CPU.

The IHS is typically a copper base, covered in Nickel plating.

In short, Nickel is very resistant to the “oozing” effect of Gallium. You may see a little haze, but nothing like that of copper.

Gamers Nexus has an in-depth test of the benefits of adding LM between the CPU die and the IHS.

Liquid Metal vs Thermal Paste

Thermal Paste

  • In most cases, thermal pastes are not electrically conductive – but they still can be electrically capacitive (the ones with metal ingredients). Capacitive is not necessarily a bad thing, it merely means that it may store some electrical energy. Given the other ingredients in the thermal paste, the charge will have nowhere to go.
  • Easier to apply – the pastes are more viscous than liquid metal so adding a pea-sized amount to the center of your CPU/GPU is pretty easy.
  • Has lesser thermal conductivity (measured in W/mk)
  • Compatible with aluminum heatsinks and any application

Liquid Metal

  • Electrically conductive – spilling or the LM bleeding to other parts of your computer will likely cause irreparable short circuits.
  • Better thermal conductivity than thermal paste.
  • More challenging to apply – patience is required & it is best to protect your application area with electrical tape or clear nail polish
  • Destroys aluminum heatsinks.
  • Will react with copper heatsinks (to a way lesser degree than aluminum) – so you must check your temperatures over time to make sure your system doesn’t overheat.

Concluding Thoughts

I’m all for getting the biggest benefits and coolest temperatures in my builds.

Tom’s Hardware did a huge analysis of 85 thermal compounds and charted them according to their temperature.

In summary of the article, the best LM improved temperatures (depending on the mount) by 1-3°C compared to the best thermal paste.

While there is an improvement with LM in these tests, we’re not talking about a huge temperature difference. In addition, you need to be concerned with all the potential dangers I listed above.

If you’re a serial upgrader (like me) then the copper being affected will not have much of an impact…I’m moving to new CPU coolers/Graphics cards pretty quickly.

If you want to maintain your heatsink/GPU for the long term, you may want to consider using a great thermal paste that is not liquid metal.

As always, if you find this article interesting – share it with your friends – comment (ask questions), hit the like button.

How To: Setup A PS4 Controller For PC Gaming

Most of the PC population can tell you the benefits of using a keyboard and mouse to play games. Games such as the Elder Scrolls and Counter Strike series just feel more natural with the use of mice for aiming and keyboard hotkeys.

That said, not every game benefits from this control scheme, especially if you want to games that are console ports or emulators of old games. For these games you may generally want to use a controller for gameplay.

While most wired Xbox 360 and Xbox One are easy to plug and play on PC, with the two consoles being made by Microsoft, some people prefer the setup of the Playstation controller. If you happen to be one of these people, then you will want to keep reading this piece, as we discuss the methods to use in order to get a Playstation 4 controller up and running on your PC or laptop.

Unlike the aforementioned Xbox controllers, getting a PS4 controller working on the computer isn’t as simple as plugging the controller into your computer’s USB port and installing the drivers from the device. As such, you will want to use the following methods in order to properly use your PS4 controller and get yourself gaming.

Using a PS4 Controller with Steam Based Games

In direct contradiction to my above statement, using your PS4 controller through games available on the Steam service is very simple.

To start, you will obviously need to load up the Steam service. After doing so, you will need to update Steam to the latest possible version, which allows support for Playstation 4 controllers. As a result, games with controller support will now show prompts for PS4 controls in menus, and you should be allowed to customize your controls as you please.

Not only can you use the controller in games, but Steam also allows for users to control some of the programs options with the controller. This includes bringing up the in-game Steam menu by pressing the “Share” button on the controller, as well as being able to control Steam’s “Big Picture Mode” for when you are playing games on the television.

Everything’s Not Perfect When Using Steam’s Beta PS4 Support Though

There are a few notes as it concerns using the PS4 controller through Steam. To start, Steam support for PS4 controls are still in Beta phase, and as such, some bugs may exist that can cause issues with controllers. While it may not eliminate all issues, updating any game you plan to use the controller in may help to solve any bugs.

The other issue is that, as of now, this controller support assumes that you are using a wired connection to your controller. While not much of an issue, you may wish to use your controller wirelessly through Bluetooth. If this is the case, or if you wish to use the PS4 Controller for games outside of Steam, then you will need to download a program known as “DS4 Windows”.

Downloading, installing, and using DS4 Windows

To obtain the DS4 Windows program, which allows you to use your PS4 DuelShock 4 controller for emulators and other non-steam games, you need to go to the DS4 windows website at this link. (https://ds4windows.com/). From here, click on the “Download Now” option, and choose a place to save the DS4 Windows install tool.

The file will download as a .zip folder, so you’ll need a place to extract the files. For this, you can either create your own folder to extract the files to, or extract the files to a copy of the .zip folder.

Once the files are extracted, you will see two executable (program) files: DS4updater.exe and DS4windows.exe.For now, you will want to open the latter of these options, DS4windows.exe, by double-clicking on the file.

This will open up a window for first time users, asking you to choose a location for your profile and settings data to be saved. This information you can either store in the default “Appdata” location, or wherever you feel would be best for you to access the data. After making these selections, you will see a separate window to install drivers for the PS4 controller.

Here you will see two options available for install. The first of these options is to “Install the DS4 Driver”. This is the option you want to choose if you are running any operating systems over windows 8. If you happen to be running any older OS, such as Windows 7 or XP, then you will want to choose the second option available to you by clicking the “Install 360 Drivers” option.

After the drivers are installed, Windows should automatically detect your PS4 controller when it is connected to your PC via USB cable, and you should be ready to go!

How To Connect PS4 Controller Wirelessly Via Bluetooth using DS4 Windows

Some of you may want to use your PS4 controller wirelessly. To do this, you first need to make sure that your PC or Laptop is capable of Blu-Tooth connection, as this is how the PS4 controller is connected wirelessly. If your computer doesn’t have this option built in, this is an easy enough fix, as there are many cheap external Bluetooth options available for purchase online.

Once you assure that you are able to connect your controller, it’s time to actually do it. First, hold the “PS” and “Share” button on your controller until the light bar on the top of the controller starts to flash. Next, you need to find your Bluetooth options on your computer, which can be in different locations depending on your OS. To make it easier to find the Bluetooth options, go to your start menu/taskbar and search for “Bluetooth”.  Once you find and open this menu, click “Bluetooth”, and then “Wireless controller”.

Your controller should then sync up with your computer. If this is not the case, you may need to put in a pairing code, which in this case should be “0000”. If, for whatever reason, both these methods didn’t work, you may need to update your drivers by using the “DS4updater” executable mentioned above, which should fix any unforeseen issues.

Conclusion…

Please keep in mind that these above guidelines are for getting a Playstation Dualshock 4 controller working on the PC. For using an older, PS3 Dualshock 3 controller on the PC, different methods must be used from the ones above.

With all the knowledge above in your hands, you should be able to be using your PS4 controller on you computer in no time. We hope this article was helpful to you, and thanks for reading.

If you’re having any problems trying to setup your PS4 controller, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll help you as soon as I can.

How To: Level Up EXTREMELY Fast In Overwatch

I Love Overwatch! I remember being disappointed about Blizzard announcing that they’d be canning their MMO Titan as I was deeply in love with that idea, but I have to admit that they did a great job salvaging what was left from that and turning it into this fantastic team based shooter.

One of the things that were confusing to me as a new player was the fact that there was no explanation on how the levelling system works and how to level up fast in the game. So I decided to make a how-to on Overwatch’s levelling system and ways to level up much faster than average.

If you have any questions about this guide, please feel free to leave a comment below!

How Does The Leveling System Work?

Before I get in-depth on how to level fast in overwatch, you really need to understand how the leveling system works. Below is a chart that I’ve created that showcases how much experience is needed to gain a level, so give it a look.

Level Progression

LevelXP for next levelLevelXP for next level
12,0001214,500
23,5001315,000
35,0001415,500
46,5001516,000
57,5001616,500
68,5001717,000
79,5001817,500
810,5001918,000
911,5002018,500
1012,5002119,000
1113,50022 onwards20,000

Unfortunately, in the good old days after level 100, the EXP needed was reset back to level 1 and people would march up the ladder again and level up really fast in overwatch.

Just like most things it seems all good things come to an end…

Regretfully, this is not the case any more and each level after 22 needs 20,000XP

LONG MATCHES AREN’T BAD FOR EXP!

Before I get into my main points I’d like to talk about this myth in the overwatch community that long matches are a waste of time. This is entirely false! You see, the way that Overwatch’s EXP system is set up is that the longer the match goes on, the more EXP, in general, you earn for that game. So you’ll get more EXP for a 20-minute game than a 10 minute one. So next time you see someone in chat mention that long matches are a waste of time, don’t pay them any mind as that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s move on to how to level up fast in overwatch!

1. GROUP UP WITH FRIENDS!

If you don’t get anything else out of this article, please get this. Grouping up with friends offers a 20% EXP bonus on everything! This might not seem like a lot, but when you consider the fact that this stacks with all standard EXP gained, then you this really speeds up the leveling process. So if you have any friends that are also playing Overwatch definitely try to group up with them! It makes the game more enjoyable to play, and you get an EXP bonus, what else could you want?

2. Win!

One of the best ways to level up in Overwatch is to WIN! Winning a match in Overwatch awards 500 extra EXP (100 more if you’re in a group).  This is another reason why I recommend grouping up. Even if you are a good player, Overwatch isn’t a game where one player can effectively carry an entire team. I’d really recommend you group up instead as this greatly improves your chances of winning since your team will be able to communicate much better.



3. GO FOR GOLD

Have you ever received a gold, silver, or bronze medal for playing effectively on overwatch? You might not have known this, but if you get a gold medal you get 150 EXP, if you get silver you’ll get 100 EXP, and finally if you get a bronze medal you’ll get 75 EXP.

One thing you should know is that these medals don’t stack. To give you a deeper insight of what I’m talking about, I’ll give you an example of what I mean. If you got 2 Gold medals, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze, you’d only get 150 EXP for receiving a gold medal. This is one of the things I dislike about the leveling system. So every match I’d recommend you go for one gold medal, and that’s it.

4. PLAY CONSECUTIVE MATCHES

Blizzard wants you to keep playing Overwatch and they’ll actually reward you for playing consecutive matches. After you play at least one game and then immediately queue into another one you’ll receive a bonus 200 EXP. While this isn’t that much it’s definitely a nice little bonus for your dedication.

5. Win Once A Day

Even if you’re a rather busy person you should at least aim to win once a day! This is because you’re actually rewarded 1500 EXP just for this. This first win of the day stacked with all the other things such as getting a gold medal and group EXP can turn a 2500 EXP match into a 5000 EXP Match.



6. BACKFILLING MATCHES IS AWESOME

Blizzard knows that no one really wants to join a match that is already in progress ( especially if the team you joined is likely to be losing), but in a way to reward players for sticking it out they’ll actually give you a 400 EXP bonus. Considering that the match is already halfway over by the time you join and even if you win you still receive this bonus, I’d say that backfilling is actually pretty awesome.

7. DON’T LEAVE MATCHES!

One of the biggest tips, I can give you to level up fast in Overwatch would have to be to not leave matches early. The reason for this is not only do you miss out on the match finish exp (300 exp), but more importantly you will get the leavers penalty debuff which lasts for multiple games! This debuff is particularly nasty as it a 75% decrease in EXP which lasts for hours. Leaving matches midway is also pretty insensitive when you think of your team, but if you’re trying to efficiently get lootboxes, then don’t leave a match early.

Conclusion…

Hopefully, this post has helped break down the way Overwatch’s leveling system actually works. Overwatch is fun by itself, but leveling up and getting Lootboxes is definitely another great experience that adds a whole new element to the game. Need a cheap gaming PC to play overwatch? I’d recommend you check out my awesome $350 PC gaming build!

We also have a great post on the Best gaming monitor under 200 – so check it out if you’re in the need of a new one.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the discussion about levelling in Overwatch, please feel free to leave a comment below. Otherwise, please share this article with other members of the community so everyone can maximize their levelling!

How To Set Up AMD Crossfire Quick!

CrossfireX is a modern technology that has been developed by the Advanced Micro Devices, abbreviated as AMD. It allows the computer user to connect two graphics cards to combine resources.

The two graphics cards work as a unified device, allowing you to have superior performance. If you want to improve your computer graphics and enhance your gaming experience, setting up AMD Crossfire on your machine is definitely a good way to go.

The below steps will guide you through the whole process of installing your graphics cards and also setting up AMD Crossfire. The aim of this guide was to make this process quick and efficient so you can get right into utilizing your two cards. So without further ado, Let’s get started!

Note: If you’re using Nvidia Cards then check out my How-To guide on setting up Nvidia SLI

HOW TO INSTALL DUAL GRAPHICS CARDS PROPERLY

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  1. Before you do anything, you need to make sure your PC’s Motherboard is Crossfire compatible. You can do this by checking your motherboards name and then searching for this information in Google.
  2. Next you’ll need to install your cards into the PCI-E slots and make sure they are secure, before moving on to connecting them to your power supply (which should, at least, be 750 watts)
  3. After making sure the cards are in place, connect them to each other using a crossfire bridge (Usually comes with the graphics card, but you can also by one)
  4. Now we’re ready to move on and start setting up AMD crossfire!

HOW TO SET UP AMD CROSSFIRE

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A few years ago, the aspect of adding multiple cards in the crossfire configuration often led to significant problems when gaming. Although multiple cards worked wonders for some games, in others, one could see lower frame rates than in the case of using only one card. However, over the past few years, the crossfire performance and driver support has improved significantly. In fact, most current games are greatly enhanced by adding a second card. In spite of minor issues like micro-stuttering when using multiple cards, the crossfire option is still crucial, especially if you want to enhance the performance of your games.

Some of the requirements for running the AMD CrossFire include; 2 x or more AMD-Radeon, HD-2000 series or higher graphics cards, which are in the same family model number, the AMD Crossfire supporting motherboard and, at least, an AMD-Crossfire interconnect bridge for every additional graphics card. Note that running two or more graphics cards on your system may also require a high rated power supply or one with enough connections for every graphics card. Below are some of the steps you can follow to set up AMD Crossfire:

Step 1:

rsz_1screen_shot_2016-02-22_at_34936_pm

First of all, you need to uninstall the current AMD drivers. Just press the “start button” then type “uninstall a program.” Select “AMD Catalyst Install Manager” then click “change” right at the top. Choose “Express-Uninstall ALL AMD Software,” to remove all AMD drivers and software. This will make it easier for you to start afresh with the most current versions. Once this process has been completed, you will be prompted to restart the computer. Upon rebooting the machine, you can download a driver sweeper program to help you remove any traces of the AMD software which were left on your computer.

This will make it easier for you to start afresh with the most current versions. Once this process has been completed, you will be prompted to restart the computer. Upon rebooting the machine, you can download a driver sweeper program to help you remove any traces of the AMD software which were left on your computer.

Step 2:

rsz_1screen_shot_2016-02-22_at_35431_pm

The next step is to download the latest version of the AMD driver software. Select the “Express Installation” option. The rest of the process is intuitive and self-explanatory. Upon completing this, you will be prompted to restart the system again, after which the screen resolution will get back to normal.

Step 3:

71l1fflbmbL._SL1000_

Checking Compatibility: Note that not all motherboards allow dual graphics card setup. It is, therefore, important to ensure that the motherboard is compatible before you try to install the second card. You can confirm this by going to the product page, then checking the specifications of that computer motherboard. You also need to ensure that the two cards are compatible, note that the two cards may either be similar or not.

Step 4:

To install another graphics card, you will need to fully shut down the entire system again. Ensure you leave the crossfire bridge off so as to double check whether the second card is being recognized by the system. Just install the card then turn the computer back on. When you get to windows, you will be prompted with the message “New Hardware has been successfully installed.” However, in case you do not see such a message, go to the “start button” then type in “Device Manager.” Click the option that will appear under the “Display Adapters” option, and you will be able to see all the installed AMD cards there.

Step 5:

rsz_screen_shot_2016-02-22_at_35848_pm

After confirming that the system has recognized and installed the second card, you can shut it down again then put the Crossfire Bridge back on. You can then turn the computer back on. In Windows, go to the tray icon and open the “AMD Catalyst control center.” On the left side, under the “Gaming” tab, select “AMD CrossfireX.” Click on “Enable AMD CrossfireX.” You need to restart the system again, and your AMD Crossfire setup will become fully functional.

CONCLUSION…

With this guide, I hope you’ve been able to install AMD crossfire and are now ready to game! If you have any questions about how to set up AMD crossfire, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll answer them as soon as I get the chance.

How to Set Up NVIDIA SLI, Quick and Easy

A couple of years ago, introducing a second graphics card to most high-performance rigs often resulted in mixed results. Some computers took the new additions really well while others registered lower performance for games and other demanding software. NVIDIA SLI architecture has come a long way since then, which means that adding that second or third graphics card will often result in improved performance for even the most demanding games and software.

NVIDIA SLI technology allows a computer to function with multiple graphics cards for breathtaking performance, enabling you to max out the graphics for most demanding games. This basic guide shows you how to set up NVIDIA SLI for your high-performance machine. Note that you need some basic knowledge of PC assembly before you attempt to install the hardware components of the cards.

1. GETTING STARTED

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Before you begin, it is important to ensure you have your hardware components at hand. NVIDIA SLI graphic cards require that your motherboard is SLI certified, so the first step is to ensure you have a compatible motherboard with its appropriate SLI connector.

You will also need one or more SLI-capable NVIDIA graphics cards. If you are going to use two or more cards, it is best practice to ensure they are the same model and that they have the same memory capacity.While Sli can work with different models, you won’t get optimal performance.

Lastly, ensure you have a compatible operating system that is supported by the cards. Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and Linux will typically support more than one card, but Linux draws that line at two cards.

2. POWER REQUIREMENTS

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You should always remember that with every card that you intend to install on your machine, you should plan for more power via a capable power supply. Your power supply should be capable of bringing in a minimum of 750 watts.

3. BEGIN INSTALLATION.

  1. If you are building your rig from scratch, ensure your SLI-certified motherboard and associated parts are installed before you start with the cards.
  2. Carefully insert the cards into the respective PCI-E slots according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Where applicable, connect any supplementary power connector to each card you install.
  3. Always ensure at least part of the card is fastened to the case and held in place by one or more screws. Loose cards are easily damaged by the smallest amount of weight on the card.
  4. After fastening the cards onto the motherboard, connect the cards to each other using the NVIDIA SLI connector which goes on top of each card. The connector is optional in most setups, but using the motherboard’s bus connections will result in reduced performance.

4. INSTALLING, UPDATING, AND CONFIGURING DRIVERS

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Once you finish the third step, you are done with the hardware portion of the installation. Power up the computer and let the operating system detect and download relevant drivers for the cards. If this fails, you can manually download drivers for your cards from the NVIDIA website or a trusted third party hosting site. Once your drivers have installed, your computer will restart to effect the changes.

5. ENABLING AND CONFIGURING SLI

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Once your drivers are installed and fully functional, you need to activate and configure SLI for your computer. Right-click on an empty space on your computer’s desktop and navigate to NVIDIA Control Panel. The resulting window will enable you to tweak the graphics settings for your graphics cards.

On this window, locate the option with the label, “Configure SLI, Surround, PhysX” under “3D Settings” and select “Maximize 3D Performance.” Your screen will flash a little after you select this option while SLI is being enabled so be ready for that.

Whenever you go into the NVIDIA Control Panel and find that you cannot locate the ““Configure SLI, Surround, PhysX” option, it could mean a number of problems with your drivers or the installed devices. Sometimes the problem can be fixed by reconnecting one or more of your cards and their respective power supply connectors. Sometimes, the problem may require you to uninstall drivers and reinstall them to make your cards active.

6. POWER UP SLI FOR ALL YOUR PROGRAMS

With SLI enabled, you may want to enable SLI for all your programs. To do this, locate and select the “Manage 3D Settings” option from the left menu bar and click on “Global Settings.” Scroll downwards to locate the option “SLI Performance Mode” and select “Alternate Frame Rendering 2 instead of the “Single GPU” options.

CONCLUSION…

With that, you have successfully begun to discover the power and might of NVIDIA SLI. Now you can peacefully encode your videos in the background, launch a multiplayer session of Call of Duty: Black Ops III at max settings and enjoy the hard-earned power at your fingertips!

If you have any further questions about setting up Nvidia SLI feel free to leave a comment below and I will respond as soon as I get the chance. If this helped you at all, don’t forget to like and then share this post with your friends!

Playing Games For Money? 8 Ways How To Do it

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When thinking of making money, no one ever thinks of playing games, but as times change people are making not just money, but full-time incomes playing video games. If you are someone who is looking to play games for money there is no better time to get started than now. Below I’ve put together 8 amazing ways you can turn your gaming hobby into a job that changes your life!

8. FARM RARE ITEMS/ GOLD IN MMO’S

Hey, This may not be the most glamorous job but if you know quick ways to make gold in online games you can easily sell it to other players for real cash.

This is simple supply and demand. People just want to play their games and having to come home and do tedious farming to buy the best gear and loot can really be annoying. That’s where you come in. You farm rare items or gold and then resale it to others who are willing to give you money.

To be honest, I would not recommend this way at all as there are much better ways to make a living playing games (which is the reason why this is at the bottom of the  list).

How Would I go about this?

If I did try starting a gold/ rare loot selling business I would not do this manually. I would use bot automation software and make many different accounts  and try to build a clientele list through forums and other communication platforms like skype. (this decreases chances of getting caught) After I have a decent List I would message people who need gold (not in-game) and offer rates better than the standard for good relationships. If you can really build out the network there is no reason why you cannot make a good living.

Example:

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I know that everyone may need some motivation, but considering the profession the people that do this aren’t known to broadcast it. There have been people in the past who have disclosed their information, but it’s out of date. If you do go this route I would recommend you looking for a forum that has people with like-minded goals so you can socialize and also see how they’re making their money.

Pros:

  • Can be done while gaming
  • Can be Automated

Cons:

  • Competing against people in other countries with low costs of living
  • Really unstable business (constantly changing)
  • Tedious
  • some MMO’s are starting to sell gold themselves
  • Hard Market

Note: In many games this is against terms of service so if you do go this route try to be discreet.

7. SELL MAXED OUT MMO ACCOUNTS

Selling Advanced character accounts is similar to the gold farming route, but if you ask me it is just a little bit better. Many people have issues with MMO’s in that they have to do a bunch of tedious leveling before they can get to the fun parts such as playing max level with their friends, and it’s not uncommon for people to buy gaming accounts that already have max level characters on them so they can jump right into the content they want.

That’s where you come in, you sell people max level accounts and they pay for it. The more max level characters on an account the more it’s worth. You can really have a viable business doing this and there are sites that will let you facilitate these exchanges (with fees of course) such as Player Auctions.

How Would I  Go About This?

There are two ways you could do this method.

  1. the slow and boring way where you level up everything by hand where you spend most of your day leveling characters to max level just so you can sell the account.
  2. The Automated Route AKA botting that allows you  to level up characters and get characters to max level without having to spend a great deal of time on them.

The Way that I would go about selling advanced characters would be to level up all of the characters through automation and get them all decently decked out and then sell the account for a good price and just repeat this over and over again. The more accounts you have leveled up the more you will make.

Example:

Again due to the nature of this profession there are very few examples of people coming out and talking about selling accounts. You can easily find full-time sellers by checking on MMO account selling websites, however.

Pros:

  • Good Business
  • Big Market
  • Can be automated

Cons:

  •  Unstable
  • Some MMO’s have started selling level boosts
  • Fierce Competition

6. GAME TESTING

Game testers are always going to be needed as developers are always going to need someone who is willing to spend hours testing their games and making sure there are no bugs in them. I know that being a game tester sounds glorious, but what they actually do is play levels over and over again doing everything possible that could break the game.

Since being a game tester is an actual job, I can find the median salary which is generally between 16 and 35 thousand dollars a year. Considering the horror stories, you hear from people who’ve actually worked as gaming testers that income really doesn’t seem worth it (on the bright side it seems you will get a lot of pizza!)

Nonetheless, if you are willing to work long hours and are trying to make connections in the gaming world then this is definitely a choice that you should consider.

How Would I  Go About This?

If I was trying to be a game tester I would really just mass apply everywhere that had available positions and hope that something stuck. One good place to look would be LinkedIn and maybe on the companies website to see if there are any positions that are open and apply for them.

Example:

Considering that there are thousands of video game testers working for various companies, I really did not feel the need to provide one example for this. Just know that if you are going to be a video game tester, you are going to be putting 80 hour work weeks and might not even get paid for the overtime.

Pros:

  • Can get you connections in the gaming industry
  • You get to play games all the time
  • Could build lasting friendships

Cons:

  • You don’t choose what games to play
  • Low Pay
  • Overtime
  • Repetitive

5. MAKE YOUR OWN GAMES

If you are really so interested in games, then there is no reason why you can’t create them yourself and make major cash. The gaming industry is growing and the amount people playing games is increasing at an amazing rate, so there really is no reason why you can’t become a developer yourself.

Really, if gaming is your passion this is something you should consider  because investing in yourself pays dividends and having the knowledge to build games will open many more doors rather than just selling in-game items or talking about them.

How Would I  Go About This?

If I was trying to become a developer I would immediately go online and learn as much as I possibly could about the gaming world and whether I wanted to be an indie developer or work for another big company. Then after that, I would spend as long as necessary to learn coding fundamentals and then start to actually apply this knowledge by creating games.

Obviously, this is a long process so I would probably do something else on this list at the same time so I could still be making while I’m learning the gaming development process.

Example:

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an example of someone who has successfully created an indie game would be the creator of FEZ. he not only created a beautiful game that you could explore, but he also made himself a millionaire in the process. I’m not going to act like what he did was easy, but it is definitely possible as there are hundreds of other tales of people creating these amazing games that truly inspire anyone who plays them.

Pros:

  • Making Something that will change your life
  • Learning Coding
  • Can Potentially make you millions
  • Establish Yourself In Gaming Industry

Cons:

  • Hard Work
  • Takes a while

4. E-SPORTS

There is a huge craze for e-sports, and if you really feel as though you are a superb gamer then this might be something to consider. If you become a gaming professional you will be playing in tournaments competing for huge prize pools of millions of dollars. This certainly sounds like a dream come true, but it’s not all fun and games. If you do decide to pursue this path, you should get ready for a lot of work and heartbreak as getting to the top will take a long time.

New e-sport games are coming out every day, but the biggest ones at the moment are MOBA’s such as League Of Legends, Smite, and Dota 2. So if you’re especially talented at this genre, you can definitely make some money.

How Would I Go About This?

If I really felt that I had the skills to play games at a competitive level, I would look for a group of skilled players that were also trying to go to the pros and make a name for ourselves. After proving that we were good enough to compete, I would then try to get into tournaments and win them for the prize money.

The Game that I would try to become a pro at would definitely be a MOBA and to narrow it down a little more I would either choose DOTA 2 or LOL due to them

Example:

Becoming a proffessional gamer is really a long shot and in many ways it’s just like getting into the pros in other sports, but just like other sports the people that can get in it and win stand to make millions of dollars. Just recently there was a Dota 2 tournament that had a prize pool of 18 million! (US Dollars)

Pros:

  • If you can get in tournaments you have the chance to make a lot of money
  • Form bonds with other amazing gamers
  • Become Famous
  • Meet leaders in the gaming industry

Cons:

  • Constantly Playing One Game to perfect it
  • Can become stressful
  • A Long Shot

3. LET’S PLAYER

These next top three ways are probably the best ways to actually play games and make a good full-time income.(with some work) The first one that I’m going to talk about would be being a let’s player. If you are trying to figure out how to play games for money, this is it! Let’s playing allows you to record yourself playing games and then put them on video sharing sites (Most commonly youtube). These videos then garner views and in turn, you make money. 

If you do decide that you are going to be a let’s player you are going to need to decide if you are going to talk on your vids (which is what I recommend if you want a consistent audience) or be a silent lets player who basically just guides people through the game.

How Would I  Go About This?

Before I would do anything, I would need to make sure I have the right equipment so I could put out, at least, 1080p videos. After getting the right gear, I would try to pick a certain type of games such as indies so I could differentiate myself from my competition and make let’s plays of these games with my own commentary on them.  I would see how people were reacting and whether it was catching on or not. After a few months of doing this, I would start to track my sub count and figure out ways to boost the numbers. When my channel started to grow, I would try to target harder lets plays such as mainstream games like fallout 4. You might have to do things such as giveaways or streaming in order to help boost your subs. All in all, becoming a let’s player is hard and you really need to put in some work to grow your channel.

Example: 

There are many examples and the image I selected above was me just typing in let’s play fallout 4. As you can see from the results, there were many videos with hundreds of thousands of views which translates into income. The more videos you have the more you will make and it’s definitely possible to keep scaling your income as you work harder.

Pros:

  • Get To Play Games For Money
  • Grow A Fanbase
  • Work On Your Own Terms
  • Scalable Income

Cons:

  • Watch Out For Copyright
  • Competition Is Fierce

2. STREAMER

This is probably one of the best ways to make money gaming and probably one of the hardest as well. People are always looking for entertaining things to watch and there’s this new craze called streaming where basically you record yourself real time gaming and talk to other people while doing this. In turn, you get paid by the number of people who are watching your stream. The more you have the better. 

One of the cool things about streaming is that you can have people who are subscribers. This means that if you stream all the time and people start to watch you daily they might end up subscribing five dollars a month to you ( less after twitch takes their cut). This may not sound like a lot but if you really build up your subscribers then you can make a lot of money doing this. That’s not even counting donations and ads which provide even more income.

How Would I  Go About This?

Breaking into the streaming industry isn’t easy as so many people want to play games and make an income while doing it, so I wouldn’t expect a quick response. Personally, I would start streaming indie games that were interesting and had people in them, but weren’t being played by hundreds of other streamers. This would let people see my stream and when the top streamer with a lot of views decides to stop playing, if they want to keep watching the game they could join my stream. My hopes of doing this would to slowly build a following until I could then start playing more mainstream enjoyable titles and have a dedicated fanbase that would tune in.

Example:

If you want to see examples just check the Twitch Website and you will see thousands of people streaming and earning incomes doing what they love. What is really stopping you from joining them? If you can become a top streamer with thousands watching your stream you could easily be making 6 figures. This will definitely take a long time of building up a following, but there is no reason why you can’t do it as there are hundreds on twitch doing it right now!

Pros:

  • Can Be Very Lucrative
  • Make Life Long Friends
  • Establish Followings
  • Can Get Sponsorships

Cons:

  • A lot Of Competition
  • Twitch is the only major streaming site at the moment, which makes for a monopoly

1. GAMING TUTORIALS

I chose gaming tutorials as the number one way of making money online because unlike streaming and let’s plays there will always be a need for it. As you can see in the image above people, love how to’s and just imagine how many games there are. You can probably do about a hundred how to’s per game. You will always be able to grow a fanbase and you really don’t have to worry that much about personality as people are on your site for information. That’s not to say you won’t grow a fanbase. As you prove that you write great tutorials on how to do things in games people will start to subscribe and watch your videos more often. Before you know it you are a top gaming channel that people go to for information.

How Would I  Go About This?

The Way I would go about this would be simple. I would write how to’s bigger channels are not focusing on and build my audience until it could compete with other channels. Once it can compete and the content is better, I would then try to do how to’s that could be considered a little more generic that also get more views. This might take a while, but you will definitely see results if you stick with it and if you are consistent you will be able to build a full-time income doing this for sure.

Example:

Honsetly there are thousands of successful how to’s on youtube and the image above just shows you the potential amount of views you can get by doing how to’s. There’s really no reason not to give this a shot if you are knowledgeable about games and like to help out other people.  There’s nothing better than getting a thank you from someone who’s been struggling to get something done and found your awesome video and got past the challenge because of it.

Pros:

  • Grows Audience
  • Less Competition
  • Easier To Stand Out
  • Always A Need For It

Cons:

  • Watch Out For Copyright

Looking for a PC build on a budget? Check Below

If you  are going to make money gaming  then you are definitely going to need a decent PC that will allow you to play games, stream, record, and do other things as well. Below is an affordable gaming PC build that should allow you to accomplish all of your goals.

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CONCLUSION


I really hope that this list helped you out and you are ready to change gaming from a hobby that costs you money and into something that makes you a full time income instead. There’s no reason why you can’t do it as long as you take stick with it and keep trying.

If you have any questions leave a comment below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.